Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Opposition Research in Political Campaigns - C-SPAN Video Library

Opposition Research in Political Campaigns - C-SPAN Video Library

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Paper: "Writing Reform" from the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU Law

Great new paper released by the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU Law School.

From the Website: Purpose. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law has designed this manual for people who want to draft campaign finance reform legislation that is both appropriate for their community and sensitive to constitutional concerns. Because different laws may be appropriate in different states and localities, the handbook will not tell you what provisions to include in legislation you draft. In our view, people with ties to communities interested in reform are in the best position to determine what legislation is needed and achievable. We therefore do not provide model laws here, but we do identify organizations that can provide such models...We focus primarily on the drafting of statutes or initiatives that will govern state elections. Our recommendations and analysis also apply, however, to local campaign finance laws. Special issues that must be faced when attempting to regulate municipal campaign finance are addressed briefly in the Epilogue.

I just started reading it. Political Contributions and Campaign Financing have been a hot topic for years now and I really think the insights in this handbook makes a valid argument for reform focused at the grass-roots level. Download it while it's Red-Hot!


Monday, December 20, 2010

In a rarity, both lunar eclipse and winter solstice to occur Tuesday

In a rarity, both lunar eclipse and winter solstice to occur Tuesday

Public Policy Polling: Florida Senate Poll Preview

Public Policy Polling: Florida Senate Poll Preview

Dennis Miller sums it up on Jay Leno

I found this video of Dennis Miller on the Jay Leno show. It is absolutely hilarious and right on point at what is happening in this country. His view of Nancy Pelosi is the best. Watch it:

Quote of the day

"If you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five
years there'd be a shortage of sand.” M Friedman

No lawbreakers as lawmakers

No lawbreakers as lawmakers

Gift Ideas for Economists

I thought this was cool:

Monitoring America |

Monitoring America |

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Business Finds Receptive Ear in Roberts Court -

Business Finds Receptive Ear in Roberts Court -

Michelle Malkin » And the ‘John Kerry Flip-Flopper of the Week’ Award Goes To…

Michelle Malkin » And the ‘John Kerry Flip-Flopper of the Week’ Award Goes To…

Is McCain Feingold Dead?

On January 21,2011 I will proudly celebrate the anniversary of The US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The ruling effectively struck down some basic provisions of of The McCain-Feingold Act, or otherwise known as The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. I have always Contended that the Law was unconstitutional and needed serious revision especially when it comes to Corporate money. Yes, I don't think they should be able to donate directly to a candidate but they have every right to freedom of Political Speech. Justice Anthony Kennedy who authored the main opinion stated that there is “no basis for allowing the government to limit corporate independent expenditures.”

“There is no basis for the proposition that, in the political speech context, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers,” he wrote. “The government may regulate corporate speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether.”

And Citizen United President David Bossie stated "“As our case amply demonstrates, campaign finance legislation over the last two decades has imposed, as Justice Kennedy put it, a “censorship . . . vast in its reach.” By overruling Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and striking down McCain-Feingold’s ban on so-called electioneering communications, the Supreme Court has made possible the participation in our political process that is the right of every American citizen – a right that had been severely curtailed under McCain-Feingold .

Many on the left are clamoring for relief. In fact, Move to Amend has started a grassroots effort to amend the ruling. The organization states on their home page "Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions." Sorry to burst your bubble "Move Aside", corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like natural persons ("people").

The 1st amendment is clear: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. It doesn't state "Congress may make a law", It says "Congress shall make no law." Now that's pretty specific.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2012 Presidential Election: 18 Republican Contenders and President Obama Ranked By Communications Skills

Written by Brad Phillips on December 15, 2010 – 8:00 am

Better Communicator Has Won Every General Election Since Beginning of 24/7 Media Age in 1980; Marco Rubio, Haley Barbour, Mike Huckabee Rank Highest

December 15, 2010 (Washington, DC) – Marco Rubio, Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee are the Republican candidates most likely to defeat President Obama in 2012, according to a new analysis released today.

The study assesses the 18 most likely Republican candidates – and President Obama – on the seven traits all winning presidential candidates have had since the beginning of the 24/7 media age in 1980. The 7,500-word series appears on the Mr. Media Training Blog, one of the world’s most visited communications training websites.

“Most pundits analyze a general election by looking at the same old measurements, such as unemployment data, consumer confidence, and early polling,” said Brad Phillips, author of the analysis and a former journalist with ABC News and CNN. “But they always miss a reliable predictor: the more gifted media spokesperson has won every presidential election since the beginning of the 24/7 media age in 1980.”

The grades below reflect how well each candidate is performing in seven specific communications categories:

1. The candidates were evaluated on the following seven criteria, which have held true for every general election since the beginning of the 24/7 media age in 1980:
2. 1. The candidate with the clearest message has always won
3. 2. The candidate who articulated the clearer vision has always won
4. 3. The sunnier candidate with the more optimistic message has always won
5. 4. The candidate whose message is best aligned with constituent concerns has always won
6. 5. The more charismatic candidate has always won
7. 6. The candidate who appeared most comfortable in his skin has always won
8. 7. The candidate who uses the most plain-spoken language has almost always won

“Although we tend to complain about the length of presidential campaigns, the reality is that nonstop media exposure to candidates gives us a good sense of who they are,” said Phillips, who authors the Mr. Media Training Blog. “That’s important, because many voters – especially the crucial independents – base their votes on their personal comfort level with a candidate, not specific policy positions.”

This study is based on how the candidates are doing now, but points out that many of the contenders will improve between now and the election, while others will likely get worse.

Note: This analysis applies solely to the 2012 general election, not primary elections.


Brad Phillips is the author of the Mr. Media Training Blog. He is the president of Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training firm with offices in NYC, DC, and LA. Mr. Phillips previously worked as a journalist with ABC’s Nightline with Ted Koppel and CNN’s Reliable Sources and The Capital Gang.

The Mr. Media Training Blog ( offers daily tips to help readers become better media spokespersons and public speakers. It also examines how well (or poorly) public figures are communicating through the media.

[Video] Florida gunman Clay Duke shoots at school board, misses

[Video] Florida gunman Clay Duke shoots at school board, misses

Monday, December 13, 2010

Judge in Va. strikes down federal health care law

By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press Larry O'dell, Associated Press – 4 mins ago

RICHMOND, Va. – A federal judge declared the foundation of President Barack Obama's health care law unconstitutional Monday, ruling that the government cannot require Americans to purchase insurance. The case is expected to end up at the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson wrote that no court had expanded the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to allow the government to regulate a person's decision not to buy a product.

"At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it's about an individual's right to choose to participate," Hudson wrote.

In his order, he said he will allow the law to remain in effect while appeals are heard, meaning there is unlikely to be any immediate impact on other provisions that have already taken effect. The insurance coverage mandate is not scheduled to begin until 2014.

"The outcome of this case has significant public policy implications," Hudson wrote. "And the final word will undoubtedly reside with a higher court."

Even so, Republicans in Congress celebrated the ruling as validation of the arguments they had made for months while the law was pending. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., issued a statement urging the White House to agree to expedite a final ruling by appealing directly to the Supreme Court without first stopping at an appeals court.

Hudson is the first federal judge to strike down a key part of the law, which had been upheld by fellow federal judges in Virginia and Michigan. Several other lawsuits have been dismissed and still others are pending, including one filed in Florida by 20 states.

White House health reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle said the administration is encouraged by the two other judges who have upheld the law. She said the Justice Department is reviewing Hudson's ruling.

"We are disappointed in today's ruling but continue to believe — as other federal courts in Virginia and Michigan have found — that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler.

Hudson sided with Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, who argued the mandate overstepped the bounds of the Constitution.

"The ruling is extremely positive for anyone who believes in the system of Federalism created by our founding fathers," Cuccinelli said. "It underscores that the Constitution's limitations on federal power really do mean something."

Cuccinelli, a Republican, filed the lawsuit to defend a new state law passed in reaction to the federal overhaul that prohibits the government from forcing state residents to buy health insurance.

He argued that while the government can regulate economic activity that substantially affects interstate commerce, the decision not to buy insurance amounts to economic inactivity that is beyond the government's reach.

"This lawsuit is not about health insurance, not about health care, it's about liberty," he said.

Hudson, a Republican appointed by President George W. Bush, sounded sympathetic to the state's case when he heard oral arguments in October, and the White House expected to lose this round.

Administration officials told reporters last week that a negative ruling would have virtually no impact on the law's implementation, noting that its two major provisions — the coverage mandate and the creation of new insurance markets — don't take effect until 2014.

New Book I'm reading! Harlow Ungers' "Lion of Liberty"

I had the pleasure of watching Harlow Unger this weekend on C-span giving commentary on his fantastic new Book "Lion of Liberty: Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation." Pick it up while it's hot!!

Description from his website: The gripping drama of Patrick Henry, a monumental figure in American history, hailed in his time as the first of the nation’s founding fathers.

In this action-packed history, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger unfolds the epic story of Patrick Henry, who roused Americans to fight government tyranny—both British and American. Remembered largely for his cry for “liberty or death,” Henry was actually the first (and most colorful) of America’s Founding Fathers: first to call Americans to arms against Britain, first to demand a bill of rights, and first to fight the growth of big government after the Revolution.

“As quick with a rifle as he was with his tongue,” Henry was America’s greatest orator and courtroom lawyer, who mixed histrionics and hilarity to provoke tears or laughter from judges and jurors alike. Henry’s passion for liberty—as well as his eighteen children—suggested to some Americans that he, not Washington, was the real father of his country. Henry was one of the towering figures of the nation’s formative years.

This biography is history at its best, telling a story both human and philosophical. As Unger points out, Henry’s words continue to echo across America, inspiring millions to fight government intrusion in their daily lives.

Ten years after Bush v. Gore, the fight goes on

Ten years after Bush v. Gore, the fight goes on

Supreme Court Refuses to Get Involved in Dispute Over Size of U.S. House of Representatives


Following up on this post, the Supreme Court has rejected the appeal in Clemons v. U.S. on the size of the U.S. House. When I wrote last night about a possible cert. denial, I had forgotten that this was an appeal from a three-judge court, meaning that the court does not grant cert or deny cert in such cases. It usually issues either a summary disposition (affirming or reversing) or notes probable jurisdiction and sets the case for argument.

Today, the Court did something a bit different in its summary disposition: it vacated the earlier judgment and directed the district court to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Apparently the Court views questions about the size of the U.S. House as a political question, and did not want to keep the three-judge court's opinion, which includes a lengthy historical and political analysis of the size of the House on the books. This is true even though the district court agreed with the government that the suit should be dismissed.
Posted by Rick Hasen at 07:18 AM

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Always Bet Against the Suckers

Pretty interseting article I got in my email today:

Always Bet Against the Suckers
By Brian Hicks | Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A successful investor always has their own proprietary economic indicators, ones they’ve developed through personal observations in everyday life.

Less about mathematical models, these personal indicators are more about the deductions from gut instincts.

In August 1999, I stumbled upon one when I took my family for a night of fun at Friendly’s restaurant. It was there at a dirty booth shoveling down dry, disgusting Clamboat Basket and chicken strips, that I developed my “Rudeness Indicator."

Here’s how it started…


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We were greeted by a hostess on a cell phone talking to her friend. A roll of the eyes and a long, exhaling sigh… I could tell she resented me for brining my family there and interrupting her day.

It took 10 minutes for the waitress to come to our table. And all she did was bring water.

Another 15 minutes went by before she took our order. During those 25 minutes between being seated and ordering, she walked around joking with the other waitresses, constantly fooling with her hair and nails.

The poor manager in charge of controlling this circus was running around barking orders while bussing most of the tables himself. I could tell he was a day away from firing everybody — or quitting.

The girls just tuned him out... The waitresses were beyond rude. They hated the customers.

Lazy and constantly looking at the clock, they could’ve cared less about making tips.

It was so blatantly absurd that I thought for a moment I was on a hidden camera prank show. And that’s when I realized Friendly’s was scraping the bottom of the barrel of the hiring pool.

And I also realized they didn’t have a choice: They were stuck with this pathetic crew of staff.

You see, this was August 1999. The stock market was booming. The economy was firing on all cylinders. The United States was at full employment.

Anybody who wanted a job could get one within a day.

In fact, attracting new employees meant handing out big signing bonuses, stock options, and BMWs. Remember those days?

Well Friendly’s found itself in a similar situation, but with a different problem.

Desperate to find live bodies to fill waitress positions, Friendly’s had to hire employees straight out of inner city neighborhoods and transport them 20 miles out to their suburban restaurants.

It wasn’t just Friendly’s, either... I went to the nearby BJ’s, Sam’s Club, McDonalds, and even a Target, and I encountered rude employees.

It was at this point I knew the economy was at a top. It couldn’t go any higher.

Think about it... If employers are forced to hire people who a) don’t care if they get fired (so they're rude to customers) because they can find another job within hours; or b) don’t want to work, then the economy is overheating. It has nowhere to go but lower.

Couple that with the fact that everybody was asking me about dot-com stocks...

People who had never played the market were now playing it. This was the epitome of the "greater fool" theory.

These people were, dear reader, the suckers.

The next morning, I went to work and shorted Friendly’s and began selling my long positions.

We all know happened the following year...

I’ve used my Rudeness Indicator since to call market tops. It usually works.

However, I’ve developed another stock indicator that I think will be as successful as my Rudeness Indicator...

Obama’s Clinton Moment

I want you to take a look at this chart of the Dow from the mid-1990s...


In September 1994, the Clinton Health Care Bill was declared dead. It wasn’t a coincidence that stocks and the economy took off once the final nail was hammered in the health care bill coffin...

Clinton’s hard-left base urged him to fight on, to get universal health care passed. This was the Progessives' moment in the sun.

But Bill got the message.

The Republicans swept into Congress with the Contract for America. Clinton now how to deal with divided government.

So Clinton did what any good politician does: He got out of the way… and took credit for the subsequent, booming economy.

And he never again tried to get universal health care passed.

Smart dude, right?

His hard-left base was livid with him. But it didn’t matter to Clinton...

He knew the golden rule: True believers (the naïve) are always first to the slaughter-house. They are to be used. This rule is as true for politics as it is for the stock market.

I have a simple rule I live by when it comes to American presidents: The higher the expectations when he takes office, the more disappointing he becomes. If a president takes office with low expectations (Bill Clinton, for example), he tends to outperform.

Had Obama been a stock at the time he took the oath, I would’ve shorted the heck out of him.

I mean, Obama came into office with an 80% approval rating. And like the full employment of 1999, there was nowhere to go but down.

This past Monday, Obama sacrificed the naïve. He betrayed his base by agreeing to extend tax cuts to all Americans. His left-leaning base is imploding with anger. Just watch MSNBC and see for yourself.

For me, this is great news. I always knew Obama was a cutthroat. I love it.

It’s now time to go long Obama.

Stay tuned,

Brian Hicks
Publisher, Wealth Daily

Nathan Deal and the year ahead - Neighbor Newspapers

Nathan Deal and the year ahead - Neighbor Newspapers

Why Emmer lost

Written by Erin Haust
Thursday, 09 December 2010 08:06

Political pundits, radio talk show hosts, and local Minnesota media-types are attempting to pinpoint where the Tom Emmer campaign went wrong. By most accounts, failed former senator Mark Dayton should have been easy to beat, but Minnesota Republicans are left scratching their heads in disbelief as Tom Emmer conceded in a press conference today.

Minnesota Republicans have been vocal on talk radio, blog sites and Facebook posts citing the reason for defeat was an ad the Dayton campaign ran falsely accusing Emmer, who roughly 30 years ago made the mistake of driving under the influence of alcohol, of using his position as a state representative to steer drunk driving legislation.

The ad, and subsequent silence from the Emmer campaign to refute the claims, clearly negatively effected the election results. Keeping in mind local races resulted in the Minnesota House and Senate changing to Republican control for the first time in decades, the blame for losing at the top of the ticket must be placed squarely on the state party and the Emmer campaign for reasons other than just one ad.

Dayton's history of ties to socialist, progressive groups is far from secret. Dayton spokeswoman and Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Denise Cardinal, was a featured speaker alongside self-avowed communist and community organizer Van Jones at the America's Future Now! conference last summer. They and other speakers demanded redistribution of wealth in the United States and discussed radical, revolutionary tactics to accomplish that end. Neither the state party nor the Emmer campaign made the connection between radicals like Cardinal and Van Jones and the Dayton campaign.

In October, Alliance for a Better Minnesota gained national media attention when Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Channel superstar and number one audience-getter in evening cable news programming, used at least 3 segments over 2 days to highlight the ABM boycott of Target stores. Target had made a political donation to an independent organization that later backed Emmer for governor. In turn, ABM lead a smear campaign against Target. O'Reilly exposed the hypocritical and shameful tactic used by ABM to disillusion Minnesota voters. Again, the state party and Emmer campaign was silent.

Dayton's campaign received millions of dollars from groups and individuals linked to socialists, progressives and communists. George Soros funded organizations like Democracy Alliance contributed heavily to his campaign. Soros himself is scheduled to co-host a fundraiser for Dayton in the coming week.

The Republican Party of Minnesota and the Emmer campaign failed to take advantage of the national media attention Dayton's friends and allies were receiving during the campaign and throughout the recount. The opposition research was non-existent. The state party and the Emmer campaign failed miserably to expose Dayton's past and present relationships, even when national media outlets were on the cusp of breaking the stories wide open.

Dayton was a failed senator with a disappointing past. He has personal issues that, though tragic, should have been mentioned during the campaign. He has dealt with depression, addiction, and alcoholism. He has admitted to "falling off the wagon" at the end of his term as senator. Is he in danger of slipping again? Is he stable enough to lead the state? What will he do if the going gets tough in the governor's mansion?

Dayton was quoted in January 2010 saying, "Anyone involved in recovery knows that no one, regardless of length of sobriety, can guarantee its permanent continuation.”

The bottom line is that Dayton should have been an easy target. Without smearing him personally, there was enough political ammunition to expose him for the socialist sympathizer and progressive elitist that he is and demand a public conversation about his ties to radical groups. If Minnesotans had known of Dayton's relationships with communists, could Emmer have picked up 10,000 more votes?

Cross-posted at Minnesota Conservative Examiner Comments welcome.

National Inflation Association

National Inflation Association

Answer Man: Luke Scott talks Nugent, hunting and Obama origin - Big League Stew - MLB  - Yahoo! Sports

Answer Man: Luke Scott talks Nugent, hunting and Obama origin - Big League Stew - MLB  - Yahoo! Sports

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Opposition Research Training Blog: IRS Changes Filing Thresholds for Nonprofits

The Opposition Research Training Blog: IRS Changes Filing Thresholds for Nonprofits

Lawsuit Targets Voting Rights Act

Lawsuit Targets Voting Rights Act

The Associated Press: Pearl Harbor attack remembered 69 years later

The Associated Press: Pearl Harbor attack remembered 69 years later

New Finding Aids Posted Online | Hoover Institution

New Finding Aids Posted Online | Hoover Institution

Campaign Finance Lawsuits on the Rise!

Thursday, 16 September 2010 20:00 | Written by CLC

Courtesy of The Campaign Legal Center

A flood of new litigation has been triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s highly controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC which overturned longstanding precedent and allowed corporations and unions to use their treasury funds to impact federal elections. While legal challenges to campaign finance laws picked up after the Roberts Court’s 2007 decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, the spike in litigation in the wake of Citizens United is unprecedented. Challenges are pending from Maine to Hawaii as litigants rush to get before the Roberts Court. Seemingly no campaign finance law will be left undisturbed by the rash of new lawsuits, not even the type of disclosure laws that the Supreme Court upheld by a wide margin in Citizens United.

The Campaign Legal Center is actively involved in a great number of these cases across the country. The following summary outlines the cases, their status, and the Legal Center’s involvement.


Citizens United v. FEC (U.S. Sup. Ct.) [CLOSED]

Case Description: Citizens United filed suit to challenge the federal “electioneering communications” corporate funding restriction and disclosure requirements as applied to its film entitled Hillary: The Movie and its advertisements promoting the film. On July 18, 2008, a three-judge panel upheld the federal law. When the case reached the Supreme Court, plaintiff expanded the scope of the action by requesting that the Supreme Court overturn its past decisions upholding restrictions on corporate election expenditures.

Case Status: On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court struck down the 60-year-old federal restriction on corporate expenditures in candidate elections, and overturned Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and part of McConnell v. FEC (2003).

The FEC has been petitioned to commence a rulemaking to implement the Citizens United decision, and the Legal Center intends to participate in any such rulemaking.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC filed one amici brief with the district court and two amici briefs with the Supreme Court. The district court brief and first Supreme Court brief focused on the constitutionality of the BCRA disclosure requirements. The second Supreme Court brief, filed upon the Court’s order for reargument, addressed the broader question of the validity of the Austin and McConnell decisions.

Doe v. Reed, 09-559 (U.S. Sup. Ct.)

Case Description: Plaintiffs initiated this action to halt Washington State from making petitions connected to a state ballot measure available in response to requests made under the state Public Records Act. Plaintiffs charged that the state law was unconstitutional in connection to ballot measure petitions, and as applied to petitions for Referenda 71, a domestic partnership ballot measure. On September 10, 2009, the district court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the release of the petitions, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the injunction, allowing the release of petitions. The Supreme Court, however, intervened on October 20, 2009 to again block the petitions’ release.

On October 22, 2009, the Ninth Circuit found that the disclosure of the petitions and petition signatories was justified by the governmental interest in protecting the integrity of the referenda process and providing public information. Plaintiffs petitioned for certiorari, and the Supreme Court accepted the case.

Case Status: On June 24, 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the law facially. The Court, however, remanded the case to the district court, allowing the consideration of plaintiffs’ as-applied claim to go forward.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case and intends to participate in the consideration of the as-applied claim.

RNC v. FEC (U.S. Sup. Ct.) [CLOSED]

Case Description: On November 13, 2008, the RNC brought a constitutional challenge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to the “soft money” restrictions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that bar the national parties from raising or spending soft money and prohibit state parties from using soft money for activities that affect federal elections, such as voter registration or GOTV drives. On March 26, 2010, a three-judge panel upheld the challenged soft money restrictions.

Case Status: On June 29, 2010, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the decision of the three-judge panel to dismiss the RNC’s as-applied challenge to the soft money restrictions. Three justices – Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Thomas – would have noted probable jurisdiction and accepted the appeal.

CLC Position/Involvement: On March 9, 2009, the CLC filed an amici brief on behalf of former Representatives Shays and Meehan and Senators McCain and Feingold.


Cao (RNC) v. FEC, No. 10-30146 (5th Cir.)

Case Description: On November 13, 2008, the RNC filed a challenge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Louisiana to the federal limits on coordinated spending between political parties and their candidates for federal office. The district court granted in part plaintiffs’ motion to certify constitutional questions to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: On September 10, 2010, the Fifth Circuit rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims, and upheld the party coordinated spending limits.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC and D21 filed an amicus brief on April 19, 2010 with the en banc Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the constitutionality of the party coordinated spending limits.

Koerber v. FEC, 2:08-cv-00039 (E.D.N.C.)

Case Description: In September 2008, the Committee for Truth in Politics challenged the constitutionality of the federal disclosure requirements for “electioneering communications,” and the FEC’s policy on when a group is a “political committee” under federal law. On October 29, 2008, the district court denied plaintiffs’ request for preliminary relief, finding that plaintiffs’ challenge was not likely to succeed. Plaintiffs appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but then voluntarily dismissed their appeal following the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in the district court on May 21, 2010.

Case Status: On June 3, 2010, the district court stayed the proceedings pending a final resolution of a different case, Real Truth About Obama v. FEC.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC, with Democracy 21, filed amici briefs defending the law on October 14, 2008 with the district court, and on April 24, 2009 with the Fourth Circuit.

The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. (RTAO) v. FEC, 08-cv-00483 (4th Cir.)

Case Description: RTAO requested that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia enjoin a number of FEC regulations governing when independent groups must register as federal political committees and comply with the applicable federal restrictions and disclosures. The district court denied RTAO’s request for preliminary relief, finding that RTAO was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its case. On August 5, 2009, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision, and plaintiff thereafter petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari.

Case Status: On April 26, 2010, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Fourth Circuit, remanding the case for further consideration in light of Citizens United and “the Solicitor General’s suggestion of mootness.” On June 8, 2010, the Fourth Circuit remanded the case to the district court.

CLC Position/Involvement: The CLC, along with Democracy 21, filed amici briefs with the district court and the Fourth Circuit on August 14, 2008 and October 28, 2008, respectively. v. FEC (D.C. Cir.), Nos. 08-5223, 09-5342 [CLOSED]

Case Description: In February 2008, filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia to challenge the federal contribution limits and disclosure requirements as applied to and other political committees that make only independent expenditures in elections. On July 1, 2008, the district court denied plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, and plaintiffs appealed the decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: On March 26, 2010, the D.C. Circuit struck down the federal contribution limit as applied to and other “independent expenditure committees,” but upheld the political committee disclosure requirements as applied to such groups. The government declined to appeal the decision.

CLC Position/Involvement: On March 5, 2008, the Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed an amici brief with the district court to defend the contribution limits. The Legal Center filed two amici briefs with the D.C. Circuit on September 30, 2009 and December 15, 2009.

U.S. v. O’Donnell, No. 09-50296 (9th Cir.)

Case Description: Pierce O’Donnell was indicted for contributing $26,000 of his money to the Edwards for President campaign through 13 individuals – primarily employees of his law firm as well as some of his relatives – with the understanding that he would either advance them funds or reimburse them after the contribution was made. In June 2009, a federal district court dismissed two counts of the indictment that were based on a federal law provision, see 2 U.S.C. § 441f, which prohibited donors from making contributions “in the name of another.” The district court found that this provision applied only to contributions made under false names, and not to a person’s reimbursement of the contributions made by others to a political campaign.

Case Status: On June 14, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court decision and held that federal law “prohibits straw donor contributions, in which a defendant solicits others to donate to a candidate for federal office in their own names and furnishes the money for the gift either through an advance or a prearranged reimbursement.” On June 28, 2010, O’Donnell petitioned the Ninth Circuit for a panel rehearing and petition for rehearing en banc of the decision.

CLC Position/Involvement: On September 23, 2009, the CLC, with Democracy 21, filed an amici curiae brief with the Ninth Circuit, urging the Court to correct the erroneous interpretation given to the FECA provision by the district court below.


State Disclosure Cases

Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) v. Madigan, No. 10-cv-04383 (N.D. Ill.)

Case Description: On July 12, 2010, CIF initiated an action challenging two disclosure-related provisions of Illinois law. CIF is challenging the state provision requiring non-profit organizations to register and report if they spend over $5,000 on expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to candidates. It also argues that the provisions regulating political committees are unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because they require groups to register and file regular disclosure reports if they accept contribution or make expenditures over $3,000 on behalf of or in opposition to candidates.

Case Status: On August 26, 2010, the district court denied plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Family PAC v. Reed, 3:09-cv-05662 (W.D. Wash.)

Case Description: In October 2009, Family PAC filed suit to challenge multiple provisions of Washington’s ballot measure disclosure law. Specifically, plaintiff challenged:

(1) The state restriction prohibiting contributions of greater than $5,000 to ballot measure advocacy committees during the 21-day period before an election; and

(2) The state requirement that ballot measure committees disclose the names and addresses of donors giving more than $25, and disclose employer information of donors giving more than $100.

On October 27, 2009, the court denied plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order.

Case Status: On September 1, 2010, the district court upheld the $25 and $100 reporting thresholds, but struck down the $5,000 contribution limit in the 21-day pre-election period.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Human Life of Washington, Inc. (“HLW”) v. Brumsickle, No. 09-35128 (9th Cir.)

Case Description: In April 2008, HLW challenged the constitutionality of several components of the State of Washington’s political committee disclosure regime, including the State’s definitions of “political committee,” “independent expenditure,” and “political advertising.” The district court rejected HLW’s challenges to these disclosure provisions in January 2009, and plaintiff appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: On September 11, 2009, the Ninth Circuit postponed oral argument pending the issuance of a decision in Citizens United v. FEC; supplemental briefing was conducted in January and February of 2010 to address the applicability of the Citizens United decision. Oral argument was heard on May 7, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: On June 4, 2009, the CLC filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit to defend the disclosure laws.

National Organization for Marriage (NOM) v. McKee, No. 1:09-cv-538 (D. Maine)

Case Description: Plaintiffs challenged Maine’s ballot question committee registration statute, which requires any person or entity that receives contributions or makes expenditures over $5,000 “for the purpose of initiating, promoting, defeating or influencing in any way a ballot question” to register and file reports with the state commission. The court denied NOM’s request for a temporary restraining order enjoining enforcement of the law on October 28, 2009. The parties are briefing summary judgment motions on these claims.

In June 2009, NOM filed an amended complaint adding new counts 5-8 to challenge the constitutionality of Maine’s definition of “political action committee,” its regulation of “independent expenditures” and its political disclaimer requirements. The parties agreed to consolidate the preliminary injunction hearing with the trial, and the consolidated hearing and trial on these new issues occurred on August 12, 2010.

Case Status: On August 19, 2010, the district court rejected in large part plaintiffs’ new claims, but found that (1) the phrase “influence in any way” and the term “influence” in Maine’s campaign finance law are unconstitutionally vague, and (2) a regulation requiring disclosure of any independent expenditure over $250 within 24 hours is unconstitutionally burdensome. Plaintiffs and defendants appealed this decision on August 20, 2010 and September 2, 2010, respectively.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Ohio Right to Life (ORTL) v. Ohio Election Commission, 08-cv-00492 (S.D. Ohio)

Case Description: ORTL filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio to challenge multiple provisions of Ohio’s campaign finance law, including its “electioneering communications” disclosure requirements. On September 5, 2008, the district court granted in part, and denied in part plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, but rejected ORTL’s request to enjoin Ohio’s electioneering communications disclosure requirements.

Case Status: The case on the merits is still proceeding in the district court. On August 18, 2010, the court granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.

CLC Position/Involvement: On July 18, 2008, the Legal Center filed an amici brief on behalf of itself and Ohio Citizen Action, focusing on the constitutionality of Ohio’s disclosure requirements. v. Bowen, 2:09-cv-00058 (E.D. Calif.)

Case Description: Plaintiffs brought a challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to California’s statutory requirement that ballot measure committees disclose the names and other information regarding contributors of $100 or more. Specifically, plaintiffs seek “an as-applied blanket exemption from California’s compelled disclosure provisions because Plaintiffs have demonstrated a reasonable probability that compelled disclosure will result in threats, harassment, and reprisals because of their support for Proposition 8.” Additionally, Plaintiffs contend that the law’s $100 threshold for disclosure of contributors is not narrowly tailored.

Case Status: The court denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction on January 30, 2009. The parties are currently conducting discovery.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Vermont Right to Life Committee, Inc. (VRTL) v. Sorell, 09-cv-00188 (D.Vt.)

Case Description: VRTL is challenging several aspects of Vermont campaign finance law, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment by regulating VRTL as a political committee, requiring disclaimers on electioneering communications, and requiring the reporting of “mass-media activities.” In its amended complaint, it also challenges the state contribution limits as applied to political committees making only independent expenditures and the $100 threshold for reporting contributions to a committee.

Case Status: Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 19, 2010. The Court denied the state’s motion for Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiffs’ counsel on August 9, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

West Virginians for Life (WVFL) v. Ireland, No. 1:08-cv-01133 (consolidated with Center for Individual Freedom, Inc. v. Ireland, No. 1:08-cv-00190) (S.D.W.Va.)

Case Description: In June 2007, the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) challenged multiple provisions of West Virginia’s campaign finance law, and requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of these provisions. The West Virginians for Life case was consolidated with the CIF case on October 7, 2008.

The district court on October 17, 2008 granted in part the plaintiffs’ motions for preliminary relief, and enjoined the law’s definitions of the terms “expressly advocating” and “electioneering communication.”

Case Status: On September 16, 2009, the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion to stay proceedings pending the resolution of The Real Truth About Obama v. FEC. On September 3, 2010, the Court granted plaintiffs motion to lift the stay and for leave to file new summary judgment motions. Summary judgment motions are scheduled to be briefed in September and October 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

State Public Financing Cases

Cushing v. McKee, 1:10-cv-00330 (D. Maine)

Case Description: Plaintiffs are challenging the “trigger provisions” of Maine’s public financing program which provide a participating candidate with additional funds if a non-participating opponent and outside groups together outspend the participating candidate. Plaintiffs are also challenging the state independent expenditure reporting requirements, and arguing that the contribution limits are unconstitutionally low.

Case Status: On August 5, 2010, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, and on August 31, plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. The TRO is scheduled to be fully briefed by September 13, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Green Party of Connecticut v. Garfield, Nos. 09-0599, 09-0609 (2d Cir.)

Case Description: These consolidated cases challenge the constitutionality of Connecticut’s recently-enacted public financing system, and statutory ban on contributions from lobbyists, state contractors, and members of their immediate families. On December 19, 2008, the court upheld Connecticut’s ban on “pay-to-play” campaign contributions from lobbyists and state contractors. In a later decision, the district court struck down elements of Connecticut’s public financing program, holding that the program’s eligibility and qualification requirements imposed an unconstitutional, discriminatory burden on minor party candidates, and that the public financing program’s “trigger provisions” violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.

Case Status: On July 13, 2010, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court decision. It held that the public financing program’s “trigger provisions” were unconstitutional, but upheld the program’s eligibility and qualification requirements for minor party candidates. The Second Circuit upheld the ban on state contractor contributions, but found the ban on lobbyist contributions unconstitutionally overbroad.

In August 2010, the Connecticut state legislature amended its campaign finance law in response to the Second Circuit decision.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center served as co-counsel to the defendant-intervenors in the district court.

McComish v. Bennett, Nos. 10-15165, 10-15166 (9th Cir.)

Case Description: Plaintiffs challenged the “matching funds trigger” provisions of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which provide participating candidates with additional funds if a non-participating opponent or outside group spends above a certain threshold. On January 20, 2010, the district court struck down the trigger provisions, and defendants appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which stayed the district court’s decision during the pendency of the appeal.

On May 21, 2010, the Ninth Circuit unanimously held that the “trigger provisions” were consistent with the First Amendment, reversing the district court’s ruling on this issue.

Case Status: On June 8, 2010, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the Ninth Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court’s order in effect bars the distribution of additional “trigger funds” to publicly-financed candidates in Arizona’s 2010 primary and general elections. On August 17, 2010, plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari.

CLC Position/Involvement: On July 24, 2009, the Legal Center filed an amicus curiae brief with district court, and currently is monitoring the Supreme Court appeal.

Scott v. Roberts, No. 10-13211 (11th Cir.)

Case Description: On July 7, 2010, Richard Scott, a 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate in Florida, filed suit to challenge Florida’s millionaire’s amendment, which provides that a publicly-financed gubernatorial candidate, if running against a privately-financed candidate, will receive a dollar-for-dollar match of any amount by which the privately-funded candidate exceeds a $24.9 million spending cap. On July 14, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida denied Scott’s request for preliminary injunction.

Case Status: On July 30, 2010, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court, declaring the trigger provision unconstitutional, questioning both whether the public funds program furthered the government’s anti-corruption interest and whether it was narrowly tailored to further that interest.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Wisconsin Right to Life v. Brennan, 3:09-cv-00764 (W.D. Wisc)

Koschnick v. Doyle, 3:09-cv-00767 (W.D. Wisc)

Case Description: In December 2009, two cases were filed to challenge the trigger provisions of Wisconsin’s recently-enacted public financing program, as well as other program components. These cases have not yet been consolidated.

Case Status: Plaintiffs in Brennan moved for summary judgment on July 9, 2010; defendants cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings on the same date. The parties briefed these motions through August.

Plaintiffs in Koschnick moved for judgment on the pleadings on March 1, 2010; the state’s opposition was filed April 30, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

State Contribution Limit Cases

Committee on JOBS, et al. v. Herrera (N.D. Calif.)

Case Description: In June 2007, two political committees filed a challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to the constitutionality of San Francisco’s limit on contributions to political committees that make only independent expenditures in City elections. The district court granted plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the law.

Case Status: The parties are currently in settlement negotiations.

CLC Position/Involvement: On August 27, 2007, the Legal Center filed an amici brief on behalf of itself and four other nonprofit political reform organizations supporting the constitutionality of the San Francisco ordinance.

Iowa Right to Life (IRTL) v. Miller, 10-cv-00416 (S.D. Iowa)

Case Description: On September 7, 2010, IRTL filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to challenge several aspects of Iowa’s campaign finance law, including the following:

(1) The state independent expenditure disclosure requirements. Plaintiff claims such requirements are tantamount to the imposition of political committee status on groups making independent expenditures and are therefore subject to strict scrutiny.

(2) The state restriction on corporate contributions to candidates and political parties. Plaintiff also requests that the court reject the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Beaumont v. FEC upholding the constitutionality of corporate contribution limits.

(3) The state requirement that entities obtain annual approval from their board of directors for independent expenditures.

Case Status: On September 7, 2010, plaintiff filed its complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the challenged provisions. The preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for September 15, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce v. Land, 10-cv-00664 (W.D. Mich.) [CLOSED]

Case Description: On July 12, 2010, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce challenged a Michigan law, and the Secretary of State’s interpretation thereof, which prohibited the Chamber PAC from accepting corporate contributions and using them to fund independent expenditures. Plaintiff argued that Citizen United recognized that corporate “independent expenditure activities” were fully protected by the First Amendment, and therefore corporate contributions to a PAC for the purpose of financing independent expenditures could not be restricted.

Case Status: On July 23, 2010, plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction was in part granted, and in part denied: the court preliminarily enjoined the law insofar as it restricted corporate contributions to a PAC to fund independent expenditures, but declined to enjoin the law insofar as it restricted corporate contributions to fund coordinated expenditures. On August 30, 2010, parties stipulated to a judgment and order for a permanent injunction that would preclude the state from enforcing its corporate contribution restrictions in connection to independent expenditures.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life (MCCL) v. Swanson, 10-cv-2938 (D. Minn.)

Case Description: On July 7, 2010, MCCL challenged multiple provisions of Minnesota’s campaign finance law pertaining to the regulation of corporations. The challenged provisions include:

(1) The state requirement that corporations establish “political funds,” subject to registration, record-keeping and reporting requirements, to make independent expenditures.

(2) The state restriction on corporate contributions to political committees making only independent expenditures.

(3) The requirement that corporations establish “conduit funds” to give contributions to parties and candidates. Plaintiff alleges that corporations, unlike unions or other associations, are not permitted to control such funds. Plaintiff also suggests that the court reconsider the Supreme Court’s decision in Beaumont v. FEC.

Case Status: On August 20, 2010, the court heard oral argument on plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Thalheimer v. City of San Diego, No. 10-55322 (9th Cir)

Case Description: In December 2009, plaintiffs filed a constitutional challenge to several aspects of San Diego’s campaign finance laws. One of the challenged San Diego laws provides that a “general purpose recipient committee” may only use individual contributions – not contributions from corporations, labor unions or other entities – to support or oppose a municipal candidate by making independent expenditures, and those contributions are subject to a $500 limit. In February 2010, the district court preliminarily enjoined the City’s enforcement of the contribution limit and the City appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Status: The case is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit. Oral argument is scheduled for October 4, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: On April 9, 2010, the Legal Center filed a brief amici curie with the Ninth Circuit on behalf of itself and two other public interest groups to support the contribution limit.

Yamada v. Kuramoto, 10-cv-00497 (D. Haw.)

Case Description: On August 27, 2010, plaintiffs filed suit to challenge multiple aspects of Hawaii state campaign finance law. Challenged provisions include:

(1) The state definitions of “political committee,” “expenditure” and other terms. Plaintiff claim these definition are both overbroad and unconstitutionally vague.

(2) The electioneering communications reporting requirements;

(3) A requirement that “advertisements,” as defined by state law, include disclaimers disclosing the sponsor of the ad and its connection to any candidate;

(4) The state restriction on contributions from government contractors; and

(5) The contribution limits applicable to independent expenditure committees.

Case Status: Plaintiffs filed their complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction on August 27, 2010. The preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for October 1, 2010.

CLC Position/Involvement: The Legal Center has been tracking this case.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Is the Republican ban on earmarks a good idea?

Is the Republican ban on earmarks a good idea?

Election Law @ Moritz (Commentary: The Rise of 501(c)(4)s in campaign activity: Are they as clever as they think?)

Election Law @ Moritz (Commentary: The Rise of 501(c)(4)s in campaign activity: Are they as clever as they think?)

Opposition Research Tip #1

In my years of performing opposition research knowing where to get information on a candidate or candidates is imperative. However, you will have the upper hand against your competition if you know, understand, and keep up with current election law. Performing opposition research is a lot more than digging up that arrest in college, that paper the candidate wrote in law school, or the affair he or she had. This information may come up or it may not. The squeaky clean candidate may have violated election law without even knowing it. It happened to Gephardt when after the "Contract with America" election of 2004 he was investigated. After the election, inconsistencies were discovered in a real estate deal he was involved in and what he was reporting on his financial statements he disclosed to Congress. A clear violation of The Starker Amendment. Charges were dismissed by the House Ethics Committee but, it put a black mark on Gephardts' record.

So knowing Election law will give the "Oppo" an upper hand on his or her competition. I'm not inferring you need to go to law school, but it may prove wise to team up with an attorney specializing in Election Law. Inexperienced researchers will pour over news articles, past statements, or social networks (which is fine) however, many of these "dirty" secrets or statements may prove irrelevant. A clear violation of Law, backed by documented proof can seriously damage any candidate. A great place to start is THE ELECTION LAW BLOG. It covers election law, campaign finance, legislation, voting rights, initiatives, redistricting, and the Supreme Court nomination process. A great book, although used in law schools, is The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process (University Casebook. Description: The Law of Democracy offers a systematic exploration of the legal construction of American democracy. The book brings together a cluster of issues in law regulating the design of democratic institutions, and the book employs a variety of methods historical, comparative, theoretical, doctrinal to explore foundational questions in the theory and practice of democracy. Covered issues include the historical development of the individual right to vote; current struggles over racial gerrymandering; the relationship of the state to political parties; the constitutional and policy issues surrounding campaign-finance reform; and the tension between majority rule and fair representation of minorities in democratic bodies. Sidenote: Barack Obama contributed to this book. Ahh!! Maybe some juice on him??

In conclusion, it may behoove the opposition researcher to have a thorough knowledge of election law. Violations of law is the most damaging material you can find on a candidate. In our business having the edge is paramount. Know The Law!

The real legacy of Bush v. Gore. - By Richard L. Hasen - Slate Magazine

The real legacy of Bush v. Gore. - By Richard L. Hasen - Slate Magazine

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 Election Spending Round-up

The election results in for the 2010 election cycle. More than $2.6B was spent on the 2010 midterm elections according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This will go down as the most money spent during a midterm election. Full Report here: 2010 Election spending

Friday, December 3, 2010

Political Impression Management: How Metaphors, Sound Bites, Appearance Effectiveness, and Personality Traits Can Win Elections

I found a fantastic article regarding Political Marketing and the importance of candidate impressions courtesy of the Journal of Political Marketing. It was written by Christ’l De Landtsheer who is a Professor of Communication Sciences at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Director of the Political Communication Research Unit, which focuses on psychological, technological, and linguistic aspects of political communication.Here is the abstract:

This article introduces the concepts of political
impression management and perception politics. It furthermore discusses
results from empirical case studies by the authors using experiments
and applying recent research models. Three main points of
interest will be addressed: sound bites, the effects of appearance in
politics, and personality profiles in the media. According to the view
of political impression management, politicians and political parties
control the impression they make on the audience (De Landtsheer,
2004). But first and foremost, this article tries to bridge the domain
of political impression management with the domain of political marketing.
The article concludes with some critical thoughts on the influences
between political impression management and democracy.

Download article here:

Political Campaigning at the University of Florida

Being a University of Florida Graduate (Political Science, 1990) I thought it might be appropriate to make everyone aware of UF's Political Campaign Management Program. The Department of Political Science at The University of Florida offers a Master of Arts degree in political science, with a special emphasis on political campaigning and practical politics generally. The goal of this bipartisan program is to provide students with knowledge and skills relevant to a wide variety of political roles, including:

* candidate for office
* campaign management
* opinion polling
* media specialist
* public relations
* political and private-sector fundraising
* grassroots mobilization
* lobbying and issue advocacy
* international consulting
* aide to government officials

Access website:

Political consultant has no "average" weeks |

Political consultant has no "average" weeks |

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » THAT UNEVEN GOP WAVE

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » THAT UNEVEN GOP WAVE

Hat Controversy Brewing in New Congress - Political Campaign Resources to Elect Women

Hat Controversy Brewing in New Congress - Political Campaign Resources to Elect Women

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Celebration Florida First homocide ever!

Celebration Florida

2010 Congressional Results by Party

This election map shows the congressional districts Republicans won by less than five points; the districts they won by five to 10 points; and the districts they won by more than 10 points. It also shows the congressional districts Democrats won by less than five points; those they won by five to 10 points; and the districts Democrats won by more than 10 points. According to the map, the GOP won more districts by a greater margin in 2010, and Democrats had more close call districts won by a smaller margin. These are important factors that represent the depth of GOP 2010 election results this past election cycle and potential districts for future pick-ups. (To download PDF map, visit

Courtesy of Karl Rove Website: HERE

John Conyers III previously busted for speeding in his father’s Congressional Cadillac |

John Conyers III previously busted for speeding in his father’s Congressional Cadillac |

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking News: Wikileaks Has juice on Bank of America!

Julian Assange

Wikileaks chief said he has 5GB of secret docs on Bank of America (exclusive) | Raw Story

And More Breaking News: Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange wanted by Interpol

Rosa Parks Tribute - 55 year anniversary

Today, December 1 marks the 55th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusing to Sit on the back of the bus. I always commend anyone that stands up and defends their own personal liberty, but what Ms. Parks did took a lot of courage, strength and sheer guts. Let's all reminisce and commend her for what she did. It was her right!!! It still is her right today.

Key Republican: White House playing 2012 politics on taxes - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

Key Republican: White House playing 2012 politics on taxes - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

Numerous Search Engines on 1 page.

The meta search page does a good job of searching multiple engines and returning information in a useful layout. Search results are presented as drop down boxes in the middle of the page where you can easily expand or collapse the results of each search. Some of the search engines covered are Google, Google Docs, News, Blogs, Images and Videos. As well as Facebook, MySpace, Zoominfo, LinkedIn and Bebo.

Thanks to The Opposition Research Blog for the tip!!

Are you Kidding Me!!! Senate Bill 510 - Organic Farmer Fined 5000 For Growing Crops On Own Land

I ran across this video today and almost fell out of my chair. DeKalb County, GA is suing a local farmer for growing too many vegetables, but he said he will fight the charges in the ongoing battle neighbors call “Cabbagegate.”

In these times of economic crisis, rising poverty, and diet-related health problems, you'd think local governments would have bigger priorities than counting the number of squash and broccoli plants on people's lawns. Unfortunately that's not the case for Georgia resident Steve Miller, a landscaper by profession and organic farmer by heart, who's been caught tomato-red-handed growing a downright offensive number of vegetable plants on his property outside of Atlanta. (The exact number of criminal plants unknown.)

Dubbed "Cabbage-Gate" by friends and neighbors of Miller, officials in Dekalb County, Georgia, are suing him for $5,000 in fines for not having his land properly zoned to grow such an apparently ridiculous number of vegetables -- even after he stopped growing them and got rezoned.

If the county is suing this long-time hobby farmer for growing too many vegetables, how many are "acceptable" anyway? Twenty? Eleven? As many as you want as long as that doesn't include cabbage?

(Thanks to Grist Twitter follower @rvagreendrinks for the tip!)

The law was supposed to stop large commercial operations in residential areas, but is being used against a 2-acre farmer who sells to neighbors and farmers markets.

I really don't know how far this current state of government affairs will go, but I can tell you this every politician supporting, passing, and enforcing these laws will be exposed in the upcoming municipal elections as well as the 2012 election. I guess it's their last gasp before the wind blows in their face while they spit. This invasion of individual liberty is reprehensible.

Court documents from the case: Here and Here

And......furthermore, if you peruse Connie Stokes' website (one of the Great Commissioners involved) you find this quote "Connie Stokes has a proven record of working to create jobs through supporting the development of small businesses. She is keeping her promise to recruit new businesses and to expand existing business in our community." Yeah right!!! There you have it, more hypocrisy. She was defeated in 2010 in the Democratic party primary against incumbent Hank Johnson (D) with 19% of the vote.

GOP Earmark Ban Rejected By Bipartisan Group In Senate Vote

ANDREW TAYLOR | 11/30/10 10:35 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — The Senate Tuesday rejected a GOP bid to ban the practice of larding spending bills with earmarks – those pet projects that lawmakers love to send home to their states.

Most Democrats and a handful of Republicans combined to defeat the effort, which would have effectively forbidden the Senate from considering legislation containing earmarks like road and bridge projects, community development funding, grants to local police departments and special-interest tax breaks.

The 39-65 tally, however, was a better showing for earmark opponents, who lost a 29-68 vote earlier this year. Any votes next year should be closer because a band of anti-earmark Republicans is joining the Senate.

Earlier this month, Republicans bowed to tea party activists and passed a party resolution declaring GOP senators would give up earmarks. House Republicans have also given up the practice, but most Democrats say earmarks are a legitimate way to direct taxpayer money to their constituents.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday that Democrats had made the earmarking process far more transparent than it previously had been under GOP control of Congress. The reforms include requiring lawmakers to document every projects they seek and receive.

Seven Democrats voted with all but eight Republicans to ban the practice.

"I believe I have an important responsibility to the state of Illinois and the people I represent to direct federal dollars into projects critically important for our state and its future," Durbin said.

Critics say that peppering most spending bills with hundreds or even thousands of earmark projects creates a go-along-get-along mindset that ensures that Washington spending goes unchecked.

President Obama supports a ban as well, but hasn't fought them in the past two years.
Story continues below

Opposition from Senate Republicans leaves Senate Democrats are the only faction of Congress in a position to try to save the practice of earmarking. But their position doesn't seem very strong, since it's difficult to see how House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would allow any earmark-laden bills to pass.

McConnell had long been a strong supporter of earmarks – they were a big issue in his 2008 campaign – but reversed course shortly after the GOP's big win in the midterm elections.

Estimates vary, but earmarks went from more than 1,300 projects worth nearly $8 billion in 1994 to a peak of nearly 14,000 projects worth more than $27 billion in 2005, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group that opposes the practice.

Democrats cut back the number and cost of earmarks somewhat. The new reforms that made the process more transparent have made it easier for outsiders to track a "pay-to-play" system in which lobbyists and corporate executives showered lawmakers with campaign funds in exchange for earmarks.

Ban sponsor Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said they can create "a conflict of interest that benefits just those we represent from our states or just those who help us become senators. All we have to do is look at campaign contributions and earmarks, and there is a stinky little secret associated with that."

(This version CORRECTS Replaces 3rd paragraph to correct prior vote tally. Updates with additional background. This story is part of AP's general news and financial services.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Senator Claire McCaskill Vulnerable!! Praises the health care bill on video.

That picture says it all. Well, below is another wonderful video of a now vulnerable democratic Senator Praising the Health Care Bill in March. This has doomed her. Senator McCaskill is the junior Senator from Missouri. I doubt she will be this giddy in 2012 when she is sure to face a tough challenge. I would imagine Jim Talent will be the front-runner. He only lost by 50,000 votes to McCaskill in '06 and is seriously contemplating another run in 2012. Check out her appearance on the Colbert report. She even jibes at Limbaugh.


WikiLeaks reveals U.S. diplomatic secrets

By: Glenn Thrush and Gordon Lubold and Laura Rozen
November 28, 2010 02:15 PM EST

WikiLeaks has dropped its bombshell cache of U.S. diplomatic cables, ripping the cloak off scores of secret deals and duds, including clandestine North Korean support for Iran and the Bush administration’s failed attempt to remove nuclear material from Pakistan.

The release — more than a quarter-million back-channel cables that include brutally candid assessments of world leaders and previously undisclosed details of nuclear and antiterrorism activity — represents the most embarrassing and potentially damaging disclosure of American diplomatic material in decades.

“I don’t see the world ending ... but lots of red, sputtering faces in D.C., embassies and capitals,” a senior American diplomat told POLITICO early Sunday, just before the release of the documents, which chronicle the sprawling growth of the U.S. diplomatic and intelligence corps after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The diplomat also predicted that governments and individuals overseas are likely to clam up as a result of the disclosures, “since no one will trust us to keep a secret for a while,” while “various and sundry interest groups will cherry-pick whatever can be found in the documents to support whatever version of reality they are peddling.”

For weeks, the Obama administration had been pressuring WikiLeaks, and its controversial founder, Julian Assange, to withhold publication of the documents, arguing that their publication could compromise the lives of U.S. service members and officials.

Assange, whose website came under cyberattack Sunday, refused to comply — even ignoring an eleventh-hour plea from the State Department’s legal adviser, who said publication of the documents was illegal and could undermine national security.

But they are also deeply embarrassing, providing off-the-cuff assessments by American diplomats of world leaders, critiques that were expected to be released only decades from now. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is compared to Hitler, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is called an “emperor with no clothes," Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is "driven by paranoia," according to the cables, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel earns high marks as a "Teflon" politician.

Perversely, the sheer size of the dump — a mountain of gossip, intrigue, high-stakes policy and lowbrow humor — may ensure that some damaging revelations that might have been front-page stories if leaked one by one get lost in the shuffle.

The long-expected release of the documents — scheduled to be published simultaneously at around 4:30 p.m. EST by The New York Times, Germany's Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Pais, France’s Le Monde and Britain’s Guardian — was accelerated by a few hours after a German Twitter user obtained an early copy of Der Spiegel and began posting tidbits online.

The two previous releases of documents by WikiLeaks produced front-page stories — the recently disclosed Iraq war logs indicated that previous American estimates of the total number of Iraqi casualties were lower than the actual number — but overall, they contained few surprising details.

The batch released Sunday, however, included vivid details about current operations and the sausage factory behind foreign policy, delivered by officials in 270 overseas posts worldwide over the past three years. The massive leak reportedly came from a service member with access to the documents.

Some of the material was so explosive that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent much of the past week preparing foreign leaders for the fallout — what the Guardian described as a “meltdown” of the U.S. diplomatic corps.

Saudi King Abdullah frequently pressed the U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities “to cut off the head of the snake," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, said, according to a report on Abdullah's meeting with Gen. David Petraeus, the senior U.S. commander in the Middle East, in April 2008.

One especially damaging revelation — previously unknown — details a conversation between Petraeus and the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in which Saleh offers to claim U.S. airstrikes on suspected Al Qaeda militants were actually conducted by his forces.

That prompted Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemeni forces had been behind the strikes.

In another cable, a U.S diplomat ruefully reports that an Afghan vice president carried $52 million in cash with him during a trip to the United Arab Emirates last year, without disclosing its origin or destination.

Yet another describes a State Department effort to coax Slovenia to accept a Guantanamo Bay detainee. In exchange, top Slovenian officials were apparently offered a face-to-face meeting with President Obama.

In a statement soon after The New York Times published major excerpts on its website, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms” the release of the documents to the Times, Germany’s Der Speigel and the Times of London — which followed the pattern of previous WikiLeaks document dumps of secret Iraq and Afghanistan war documents.

“By its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information,” wrote Gibbs. “It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions. Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests but those of our allies and friends around the world.”

“Cable traffic is inherently more sensitive than spot reporting,” said Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, a former naval officer who worked at the National Security Council. “This is a little bit more subjective analysis,” he told POLITICO. The cables reveal the kinds of private dialogues that any nation has to have with itself, he said.

“This releasing of these sensitive cables does a disservice not only to us but our allies globally. Our government needs to be able to operate and have an open dialogue.”

Nelson, now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that if the release of data was aimed at revealing a particularly egregious wrong the government had done, he could see its justification. In this case, he said, it was just a dump of thousands of documents with no apparent purpose but to embarrass the U.S. government.

Among the other significant revelations:

— North Korea, currently embroiled in a knife’s edge confrontation with South Korea and the U.S., was able to smuggle 19 advanced, Russian-designed missiles, capable of delivering nuclear payloads, to Iran, according to a Feb. 24, 2010, cable detailing a meeting between Russian officials and a State Department nonproliferation expert. The shipment of some R-27 components was widely known in intelligence circles, but the WikiLeaks disclosures represent the first confirmation that Iran now possess complete missile systems.

— In May 2009, Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, reported that Pakistani officials were blocking an American attempt to remove fissile material from a reactor in the country for fear the effort would be leaked to the local press.

— A Chinese contact tipped off the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that China’s Politburo OK'd a huge effort to hack into and eavesdrop on Google computers as part of a nearly decade-long cyber-sabotage effort aimed at American companies and supporters of the Dalai Lama.

— In 2007, U.S. officials warned Germany not to arrest CIA officials involved in the bungled rendition of an innocent German citizen who shared the same name as a wanted terror suspect.

— American diplomats in Rome reported on the close and odd friendship developing between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italy’s colorful billionaire leader, Silvio Berlusconi. A 2009 cable alleged the pair shared “lavish gifts,” valuable energy contracts. The cable also alleged that Putin wasn’t quite the strongman portrayed in the West — painting a picture of an autocratic leader with little hold over the huge, and largely unaccountable, post-Soviet bureaucracy.

The New York Times defended its decision to go forward with its story despite White House objections, noting that few of the documents were labeled “top secret” and passages that would have endangered individuals were redacted.

Of the candid cables themselves, the Times editors wrote, “We are less likely to censor candid remarks simply because they might cause a diplomatic controversy or embarrass officials.”

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman described the release as “the theft of huge amounts of classified data.”

He said that the leak was an unfortunate byproduct of “efforts to give diplomatic, military, law enforcement and intelligence specialists quicker and easier access to greater amounts of data," and the "unintended consequences” are to make “sensitive data more vulnerable to compromise."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story identified The Times of London as one of the recipients of the documents instead of the Guardian.

Nigel Farage Berates The EU!! "Who the hell do you think you are??"

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, went on a rampage recently. I think his own words speak for themselves:

"Good morning Mr. van Rompuy, you've been in office for one year, and in that time the whole edifice is beginning to crumble, there's chaos, the money's running out, I should thank you - you should perhaps be the pinup boy of the euroskeptic movement. But just look around this chamber this morning, look at these faces, look at the fear, look at the anger. Poor Barroso here looks like he's seen a ghost. They're beginning to understand that the game is up. And yet in their desperation to preserve their dream, they want to remove any remaining traces of democracy from the system. And it's pretty clear that none of you have learned anything. When you yourself Mr. van Rompuy say that the euro has brought us stability, I supposed I could applaud you for having a sense of humor, but isn't this really just the bunker [or banker?] mentality. Your fanaticism is out in the open. You talk about the fact that it was a lie to believe that the nation state could exist in the 21st century globalized world. Well, that may be true in the case of Belgium who haven't had a government for 6 months, but for the rest of us, right across every member state in this union, increasingly people are saying, "We don't want that flag, we don't want the anthem, we don't want this political class, we want the whole thing consigned to the dustbin of history." We had the Greek tragedy earlier on this year, and now we have the situation in Ireland. I know that the stupidity and greed of Irish politicians has a lot to do with this: they should never, ever have joined the euro. They suffered with low interest rates, a false boom and a massive bust. But look at your response to them: what they are being told as their government is collapsing is that it would be inappropriate for them to have a general election. In fact commissioner Rehn here said they had to agree to a budget first before they are allowed to have a general election. Just who the hell do you think you people are. You are very, very dangerous people indeed: your obsession with creating this European state means that you are happy to destroy democracy, you appear to be happy with millions and millions of people to be unemployed and to be poor. Untold millions will suffer so that your euro dream can continue. Well it won't work, cause its Portugal next with their debt levels of 325% of GDP they are the next ones on the list, and after that I suspect it will be Spain, and the bailout for Spain will be 7 times the size of Ireland, and at that moment all the bailout money will is gone - there won't be any more. But it's even more serious than economics, because if you rob people of their identity, if you rob them of their democracy, then all they are left with is nationalism and violence. I can only hope and pray that the euro project is destroyed by the markets before that really happens."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bill Nelson Running for the Hills. May pull A Charlie Crist on the Democrats.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson trashes Obama in private meeting

Read more:

This is just typical liberal politicians on the run. Bill Nelson will be buried in 2012. Bill "Waffler" Nelson forgets this:

Voted Yes on the Great stimulus package, VOTED YES ON OBAMACARE. Then, about face, trashes OBAMA because of the shellacking in the recent congressional election. Seems very wishy washy on a lot of issues when things don't go his parties' way. Are you pulling a Crist on the Democommies Bill? This will be brought up in 2012.

Nelson Publicly stated he supported Hillary in 2008. She lost and then Nelson considered a VP nominee with Obama?

My Campaign Button Slogan for Bill Nelson "Bandwagon Bill".


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